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Showing posts from 2015

I'll be the boy in the corduroy pants

When I started this blog, I didn't intend to spend much time looking backwards at myself. I didn't think that appealed to me, with so much happening so fast right now, like the twins growing into little people before our eyes. Plus its not always easy looking at your younger self. Like Patti Smith said, "I haven't fucked much with the past, but I've fucked plenty with the future." But then last time in this space, I wrote a little about my bookstore days and briefly mentioned the catering job I took after that. That opened the door to revisit that time in my life so I tentatively followed the trail of memories a while longer. I thought back to what I was doing then; who I was. Keep in mind I hadn't thought much about most of this in a very long time, so I suppose what I'm recounting might be slightly altered from what really happened, due to time playing tricks with my memory. But in thinking about some of this stuff for the first time in ages, I was…

Tales from the Bookstore: Holiday Edition

While sifting through my books recently, and because it's the most wonderful time of year (please read that with the dripping sarcasm with which it was intended) I was reminded of my time working at a bookstore, during my college years. It was a Waldenbooks—remember those, kids? A dinosaur, now extinct, Waldenbooks was the bookstore of choice for most Americans in the 1980s and into the early to mid 1990s, with one located in nearly every decently populated town across the country. Most were in malls, like the one where I worked. At some point in the '90s, the superstores, and then Amazon, began dominating the market, and eventually the chain was liquidated. Wikipedia tells me it was in 2011, which blows my mind! I thought for sure they'd disappeared completely somewhere around 10-15 years ago. But my time at Waldenbooks in the 90s was during their heyday, when mall shoppers flocked there like a politician to a campaign fundraiser.

The holiday season always reminds me of w…

Not rid of her

There are so many musicians and bands that I've listened to obsessively for years, or even decades in some cases. The list is long, but the usual suspects at the top of that list include Lou Reed and/or the Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, Marvin Gaye, the Pretenders, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Neko Case, Cat Power, the Who, the Faces, Dusty Springfield, Iggy Pop, the New York Dolls, Tom Petty, Cheap Trick, and on and on. These are just a few of the musicians whose music I return to again and again. Sometimes years go by between deep dives into their catalogs, but I always return to them. And while the way I listen to their music has changed—from physical albums back in the day, to iTunes in the early aughts, to simply streaming their stuff whenever I want now (because it's all out there, for public consumption—thank you, interwebs), I can still go down the rabbit hole and get lost in amazing aural soundscapes that still thrill me the same way they did years…

Moving past blame

As I've written about previously, I'm a fan of Chrissie Hynde's music, particularly the early Pretenders albums that were a huge influence on me. I won't repeat it all here, but her lyrics, which were both intimate and yet broad in scope, both thoughtful and abrasive in tone, really affected me. She and Patti Smith, Kurt Vonnegut, and Joan Didion, to name just a few whose work I've lived with over the years, all share an honesty in their writing that lays bare how they feel about something in no uncertain terms. I've spent most of my adult life attempting to express my own opinions and feelings with that level of clarity. That's what this blog is partly about. So, Hynde is in the Personal Influence Hall of Fame, for sure. Her photo even sits atop this page—mostly because I happened to discover that totally awesome vintage shot by Ebet Roberts right around the time I was starting this blog. But also because it's Hynde, and thus super cool. She's sor…

Bye, Jon

Last night was the final episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The show will continue on with a new host, but Stewart's moved on after almost seventeen years. I didn't watch it last night--I'm old, we have kids, and I cherish my sleep too much now for those reasons and several others--but I did DVR it and I'll watch it later. I used to watch the show every day, but, as with Letterman earlier this year, by the time Stewart's run was coming to an end I'd long since stopped watching faithfully. And, also like with Letterman, it had nothing to do with the host or the show, per se, it was mostly all about how life changes and I found myself less likely to stay up to watch something that I could sample bits of online the next day. The must-see aspect of these daily late night shows started to diminish for me--and a lot of people my age and younger, I'd wager--in the last decade when it all started becoming available for viewing and dissecting in easily dige…

She's just not that into you

A friend of mine recently blogged about things people say to you when you're a parent of twins. Things that, on the surface, seem innocuous enough. But when you the parent have to hear them repeated to you ad infinitum, well, then you have to control yourself from doing a little thinning of the herd if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

So to extrapolate on that thought (thanks for the inspiration, Jaime!), I just wanted to write a quick word or three hundred about one my wife and I hear with alarming frequency lately. The old "Oh, she's unsure about me! She's not too happy with me, is she? What did I do?" We've heard this one a lot recently when one of our seven-month twins makes one of the following faces: neutral face that doesn't display any signs of positive or negative emotions, or just a slight frown, or the full-on-pouty-lipped-about-to-burst-into-tears-any-minute face. More often than not lately it's been our daughter who elicits this …

We are our influences

There are few things I enjoy more than talking about the writers, artists, musicians, etc. that have influenced me in ways that have helped to shape who I've become. In fact, set me up in a coffee shop or a bar with good friends and no time limit, and I can wax on for a ridiculous amount of time on just this sort of stuff. I'm fortunate enough to have a partner and friends who also love doing this, which means I've done it a lot in my life. So—surprise!—I'll be doing it here in this space too. Probably often. So consider this part one of a multi-part series. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on my ramblings and/or if your influences dovetail with mine or if not what's influenced you.

So here we go with the first two entries in what I'll call my Personal Influence Hall of Fame. More to come later. And like my children, I love 'em all equally.

Probably the first band I remember loving, The Pretenders have been a musical constant for most of my life now.…

Waves

If I'm being honest, I've been a jerk plenty of times in my life. Who hasn't? Lately I've felt like more of a jerk than I had in a long time. I'm not sure anyone noticed my jerkiness, but if you did, well, it wasn't personal. Well, it was personal to me. The past several weeks were tough and I reacted to the stress by not reacting very well to the stress. Which is a valid reaction to stress. It's the most common reaction to stress, honestly. Still, it means there were times I felt like a jerk for being moody or short with people, but I was trying to work it out and just get through the damn thing and sometimes that took all the energy I had.

So what's the damn thing? My infant son had to have a couple of standard tests run over the last few weeks just to rule out something that, if it had been found on one of these tests, would have been really fucking scary. I'll cut to the great news - it was not found. Test results were totally normal. And no fur…

Pleased to meet me

I've been contemplating (threatening?) to do this for a long time. I have too many feelings, opinions, thoughts, passions, and grievances not to vent them somewhere besides at my loving, patient wife and incredibly caring friends. Plus, writing has always been a tonic for my soul, right up there with drawing. Similar to the solitary pursuit of sitting with a sketch pad and some pencils to form something on paper to resemble as best I can what I see in my mind, writing also allows for that absolutely necessary act of purging what's inside me, to get it out on paper (or on screen in the modern age) so that I can keep things in proper balance. I've been asked what it's like to have to draw, to need to put down on paper what is itching to get out of my head. "It's necessary," I say. When I do that I'm welcoming the calm into my life. Who doesn't want or need that, right? Writing provides a similar sense of calm in my life. And while I enjoy offering u…